3D Printing & Imaging Maker News
Big Updates for Cura, Slic3r, and Other 3D Printing Slicers
NewSlic3r
A look at the newly redesigned Slic3r interface

3D printing may be all about building physical objects, but we use a lot of software to get there. Over the past few weeks, we have seen major updates to many of the most vital packages that we use to operate our 3D printers.

Cura

NewCura2

Ultimaker has released version 15.06 of its popular slicing and printer control software, Cura. This new release includes numerous updates wrapped in a new simplified user interface. An update to the support generation algorithm in Cura engine promises a great improvement to the support structures generated by the package.

An exciting new experimental feature, called Wire Printing, looks to be a long-desired implementation of the university research project WirePrint. This feature allows users to rapidly create prototypes that imitate the size and feel of an object by printing connecting lines to form triangles that create the structure of the model.

Unfortunately, this version comes with a big drawback. Cura has always been a great software option for any printer that will accept straight G-code like most open source RepRap-based machines. The new Cura, however, has removed support for easily importing those machines.

Slic3r

Slic3r's new 3D preview.
Slic3r’s new 3D preview

Slic3r has released its first update in ten months. This update not only greatly improves Slic3r’s user interface but has also followed in their communities’ tradition of creating innovative features not found in other slicing applications.

Where Slic3r had previously been missing a 3D view of the objects it was preparing to slice, the new Slic3r includes multiple views for users to better preview how their models will print. Users can now preview both the platter and tool paths in 2d and 3d views.

NewSlic3rInfill
Slic3r’s new 3D infill

The new 3 dimensional honeycomb infill is the first of its kind to vary its pattern across layers instead of repeating the same pattern. This could greatly increase the strength of the internal infill and your final print.

A fun new feature is direct integration with Octoprint. Now when files are sliced on the user’s desktop, they can easily be uploaded directly to the user’s Octoprint box with the click of a button.

Preform

Tough_in_PreForm
Preform’s new Tough slicing settings

 

Last week we announced that Formlabs had released its new Tough resin. They followed that release up with a new version of Preform to support this new resin formulation. To round out the release they also included support for four new languages: German, French, Japanese, and Chinese.

netfabb Pro

netfabbNesting
Nested parts stacked together like a Tetris master

When it comes to prepping models to be printed, netfabb is a tool of choice for many users. While the free personal edition comes with many features like the ability to repair errors in STL files, the Pro version has tools many hobbyists would love to have access to. The release of netfabb 6 brings even more to the table.

The new stacking algorithm makes plating a breeze as it finds the most optimal placement of selected parts on the print bed. This feature makes long print jobs more efficient as very little space is wasted during the printing process. 

33 thoughts on “Big Updates for Cura, Slic3r, and Other 3D Printing Slicers

    1. Except Slic3r, Cura, and netfabb (basic) are free, while Simplify3D costs $150 without even offering a demo and features downright draconian DRM which treats legitimate users like thieves… Just Sayin’, I’m a fan of Simplify3D as well.

      1. Not sure how it costing money is relevant to anything. The post wasn’t about free slicers that got an update – just slicers, and this is one of them which received a major update.

        They offer a refund if you’re unsatisfied with the features, which is on par with buying physical products. DMR has never been an issue for me in any way. Never felt like a thief, just a user with a cdkey that needs to enter it before download – except now they even streamlined that by tying cdkeys to login accounts.

          1. Well then I guess by that statement, you’re the chosen emissary of the 3D printing community. Nice to meet you.

            Having been part of usergroups where people have told me without my influence that their favourite slicer is S3D, and having met people very recently that bought a 3D printer and S3D software along with it and quickly identified it as the superior slicer, I feel you’re quite mistaken. I’ve also never seen a single instance of anyone say they regret their purchase or asking for a refund.

            Just looked through a page reviews (please, do google “simplify3d reviews”), only 1 person said they felt it was overpriced, and it was because he was just looking for manual supports and felt that feature alone wasn’t worth the full asking price. 3 posts later he said he changed his mind and though the software was amazing. Every other review actually showers it with praise. Many times they’ll list cons that aren’t even applicable anymore because it’s features that have since been introduced.

            You seem to be conflating you own cheapness for everyone else’s needs. Not only do people very frequently spend more than $500 on 3D printers, but they also require slicers that are fast and make clean, high detail and efficient toolpaths.

            I’ve used Skeinforge, MakerWare, Slic3r, extensively and tinkered around with Cura and Craftware. S3D is the only slicer I actually use now because the feature set is much richer than all of the above. I’ve done tests and quality comparisons between the first 3, Slic3r was the only one that came close in terms of quality but was filled with bugs in toolpath generation for the 6 months I was using it that were near impossible to circumvent. S3D not only had the quality, but lacked the bugs, and had way more features and customizability.

            But it’s not free, so why would anyone bother purchasing superior tools? I guess if you consider people who want professional results outside of the “overall printing community” and only want to print a few trinkets on the cheap, I could understand the sentiment.

          2. They paid me negative $140. Here are some more shills:

            http://nicklievendag.com/simplify3d-vs-makerbot-desktop/
            http://3dprototypesandmodels.com.au/simplify-3d-review/
            https://www.reddit.com/r/3Dprinting/comments/2r12ox/review_since_i_splurged_the_140_for_the/
            http://www.3duniverse.org/2014/04/03/review-of-simplify3d-v2-0-1/
            http://bikealive.nl/testing-simplify3d.html

            Shocking that the emissary of 3D printing would have people disagree with him. No matter, they can’t be part of the 3D printing community, surely they’ve all been paid for their opinions.

            I’m impressed that you could cram appeal to popularity, no true scottsman, shill gambit as well as claiming the only meaningful measure of the value of software is it’s cost, all in a few short sentences. Well done sir.

            In your world there’s no reason reason to buy photoshop because MS paint is way more popular and free, and no reason to buy high end components for a workstation because you can but a hundred dollar tablet off amazon that’ll do web browsing, social media and email just fine.

            It takes me 20 seconds to slice a large half million poly model at 60 microns. Estimated print time: 24 hours. If I was using Skeinforge, it would take me hours, guaranteed, and might fail to even finish. I should try slic3r just out of curiosity, but the whole point of owning software like this is so I don’t have to waste all day waiting and can actually produce items, very fast, with very high quality.

          3. And there we have it. Nothing to say, no argument to make, just spouting off ad hominems and claiming some kind of unearned victory.

            I did a test slice with all the same settings that could be replicated in slic3r by the way – save the manual supports I had in S3D, since slic3r it can’t do that, so I let it save some time there. It took 20 minutes 17 seconds. That same slice that took 20 sec in S3D. Oh and looking over the gcode – random solid infill all over the model that served no purpose and would have resulted in a slower print.

            Been nice talking to you. I’ll keep being mad paying money to save 95% on slicing times and having a better, faster print at the end of it. Enjoy using the MSpaint versions of slicers and pretending they’re better.

          4. Starts internet argument, refuses to defend his points in arguments, loses argument, pretends like he won. K man, if that’s what you want to spend your day on…

            While I can’t comprehend why someone would get so upset over wanting a slicer to be mentioned in a relevant post, at least I can understand how someone who spends all day doing what you do would be upset about having to spend money on products.

            K fine, a winner is you. Companies charging for clearly superior products is bad, have it your way.

          5. As opposed to “make up straw man, attack straw man, then keep insulting oponent.” Yeah, you’re the real winner, tool.

            I mean, why do you care that the author, when discussing new open source slicers, left out your $150 closed source software that almost no one runs or wants?

          6. Unexpected to find people of your type on Make but, yeah I guess this is still the internet. My bad for assuming you were simply misinformed. You have clearly bested me, may you rejoice in your achievement.

          7. At appears so. I’m venturing into curiosity territory at this point.

            So is this a fake account you made to seem real, or do you actually fancy yourself a Buddhist and a casual troll? Didn’t know Ted Haggard types existed amongst Buddhists.

          8. Ah, I see you’ve run out of things to say so you’re descending into the simply juvenile. Your paymasters won’t be amused.

            It isn’t trolling when you troll a troll…

            Tell me more about your opinions.

          9. Wow, yeah my bad on sinking to your level, so shameful. How could I even think it.

            Was actually a genuine question and not an ad hominem. I’ve literally never run into a person who claimed to be a Buddhist while also intentionally going out of their way to try and troll or harm people for their own amusement. Was curious if you’re a fake or if I should change my opinion on Buddhists.

            Since you’re unlikely to give a real reply I’m just going to assume that you simply like to style yourself as a Steve Jobs type and think it makes you seem smart or enlightened to others by presenting yourself that way, while really it’s just an accessory you wear that means nothing to you. Just like spouting about the superiority of open source makes you feel better about simply being cheap and reluctant to buy superior products.

            No worries, I’m sure real Buddhists are still good people.

          10. Nah sorry not falling for it. Bored too.

            Would appreciate it if you kept this stuff to maybe youtube comments or something else, you’re kind of mucking up a decent site.

        1. Because this is Make, a site for the DIY and maker scene… People not notably into expensive closed source software. Which is why Simplify3D doesn’t really fit in with the slicers mentioned.

          Also, while I like Simplify3D, I don’t feel it was necessarily worth the price until the 3.0 update dropped. It finally got a couple not-insignificant features that some of the free slicers had been taking for granted for a while.

          1. Hmm, I figured if people are willing to drop money on an expensive 3D printer (and there are reviews of some expensive ones here) they’d also be willing to make it better with some software and it wasn’t strictly budget focused. Maybe not worth it for hobbyists, but from my tests S3D at the very least saves a crapload of slicing time for complex models.

            I’ve loved S3D for a while and it’s been great for my needs, but I guess the value really depends on what you’re printing. Glad to hear that you’re enjoying the new update at least.

  1. Even though Cura doesn’t support arbitrary GCode printers, PrintToPeer uses cura/slic3r slicing and does accept any GCode printer.

  2. Cura will support other printer profiles including RepRap printers again in the future, actually a Prusa i3 profile is already merged into the codebase on Github a few days ago, it is just that a easy to use guide is not yet available in the “new cura”

    If you want your printer to get included faster, just make a profile file (it is quite easy) and submit a pull request to the Cura Github

    1. How about allowing us to hand edit the specifics of the printer so we don’t need to submit profiles for each of 100 different printers to github?

      1. From what i understood there will be a dialog like that for custom printer settings in the future, it is just not done yet.

        Personally i think they released this new Cura way too early, they should have waited until all basic functionallity is done and kept it in open beta.

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Matt is a community organizer and founder of 3DPPVD, Ocean State Maker Mill, and HackPittsburgh. He is Make's digital fabrication and reviews editor.

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